NIGERIA 1-0 BOSNIA & HERZEGOVINA
SATURDAY 21ST JUNE – CUIABA
Nigeria defeated Bosnia and Herzegovina by Peter Odemwingie’s first-half goal in the Africans first World Cup win since 1998, thus knocking the tournament newcomers out of the tournament.
However, the Bosnians will depart Brazil feeling aggrieved after Manchester City striker Edin Dzeko had a goal wrongly disallowed for offside when the score was goal-less and then Odemwingie’s struck in controversial circumstances just before the half-hour mark.
Although, on reflection at full-time, Nigeria deserved its win, with Spartak Moscow striker Emmanuel Emenike causing all sorts of problems for the Bosnian defense with his strength and direct running in energy-sapping conditions in the western Brazilian city of Cuiaba. At the other end, the experienced talisman Joseph Yobo was back as captain and marshalled the defense in his 99th appearance for his country. Dzeko and Bosnia’s technical midfielders carved out few clear-cut opportunities.
After coping with a bright start by the Bosnians, the Super Eagles went ahead when Emenike charged past the tame challenge of Emir Spahic and crossed for Peter Odemwingie, who shot first-time from eight yards out, through the legs of goalkeeper Asmir Begović, his teammate at Stoke City.
The goal gave the Africans a new lease of life and they dominated the remainder of the first-half and only a slew of smart saves by Begović, who denied Michael Babatunde and Emenike, prevented Stephen Keshi’s men from going further ahead.
Bosnia’s star player, Dzeko had a disappointing night, with his finishing poor and failing to control the ball at times. Although he was unlucky in second-half stoppage time, in an agonising finale, when the Man City man had a close range effort tipped onto the post by Vincent Enyeama, when the goal would have kept Bosnia’s tournament hopes alive.
Only a point is needed from Nigeria’s last group game, against the already-qualified Argentina, to reach the last sixteen. While the Bosnians play Iran on Wednesday for pride, to try to end their debut World Cup with at least a point to show for their efforts.
NIGERIA: Enyeama, Yobo, Oshaniwa, Onazi, Ambrose, Omeruo, Mikel, Babatunde (Uzoenyi 75), Musa (Ameobi 65), Odemwingie, Emenike.
GOALS: Odemwingie 29.
BOOKINGS: Mikel 81.
BOSNIA: Begović, Spahic, Besic, Pjanić, Mujdža, Sunjic, Lulić (Salihovic 58), Medunjanin (Susic 64), Hajrović (Ibiševic 57), Misimović, Dzeko.
BOOKINGS: Medunjanin 6.
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